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We know it’s not a good idea to continue to put that moisturizer on our faces when it has expired. You can’t miss the date; it says it on the bottles to remind you to finish using it around that date.
Really good skincare will have active ingredients that have a shelf life, and products have been formulated to make sure those ingredients have the best effect on your skin when they are at their freshest.
How far past its best are you willing to go?
Food is best for you when it is fresh, so it is with actives in skincare. Natural products are food for the skin and like food it will degrade and finally go off. If you are keeping products well past their expiry dates, it is very likely bacteria and molds have had their chance to multiply. Using a product beyond its best date may give rise to skin rashes or infections. Avoid this by keeping to the expiration date of your product.
Microbes including bacteria and molds grow in water so moisturisers and gels are high risk items; and products that have no water included such as 100% oil balms or powders will the last the longest shelf life, but even these will also go off with oxygen exposure.
Preservatives have a very important role to play in keeping skincare safe for longer with different single and combinations of preservatives being used. Packaging is also very important in extending the life of a product and keeping active ingredients fresher for longer; so a moisturiser in a vacuum pump is better than in a pot that has to be opened with higher risk of contamination with dirty hands and air exposure.
Each company will have tested their product in their particular packaging along with their preservative system in order to come up with the expiry date.
Dates and symbols
These days we are given symbols and letters with dates such as the PAO (Period After Opening) with a number and the letter M, for example ‘24M’ meaning that the product is best used within 24 months of opening the product.
A few products still use the “best by”, which is basically what the symbols are referring to.
Don’t stray too far from these guidelines and your products will continue to do the job you bought them to help with.
As always, I would to get your comments and questions.